Chinese EV giant BYD is taking on a record 30,000 fresh graduates this year, with research personnel accounting for 80% of the total intake, in a move intended to shore up its research and development department, a company representative has confirmed. 

Why it matters: The hiring drive comes as BYD looks to retain its dominance in the Chinese electric vehicle market as rivals continue to offer a competitive challenge. The move contrasts sharply with general hiring trends as China faces soaring youth joblessness. 

  • China’s unemployment rate for those aged 16 to 24 rose to a record 20.8% in May, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. One Peking University professor said she expected that number could rise to nearly 50%, according to a July 20 report by Reuters

Details: Around 31,800 fresh graduates have come on board at BYD since the start of 2023, more than 61% of whom have a master’s or doctorate degree, and over 80% of whom will work in R&D projects. State-owned newspaper People’s Daily was the first to report the story on July 29.

  • The Chinese automaker has been hiring research employees in electronics and electricals, new energies, and semiconductors, to be mainly based in Shenzhen, Shanghai, and the northwestern city of Xi’an, according to a job post on its official website. 
  • A BYD spokesperson confirmed the news when contacted by TechNode, without offering further details. 

Context: BYD has been expanding its R&D team for several years with the number of engineers hired by the company growing 31.5% year-on-year to around 40,400 in 2021. That number increased 72.6% year-on-year to nearly 70,000 as of last year. The company had around 570,000 employees in 2022, of which around 75% were production workers, financial media outlet Caixin reported.

  • The Chinese EV giant, which had a relatively late start in the autonomous driving field, recently hired between 4,000 and 5,000 software engineers, Reuters reported on May 17, citing the company’s senior vice president Stella Li. It has also been running an intelligent driving research unit in Shanghai since last year, the Reuters article said, while reportedly restructuring its vehicle engineering institute. 
  • The company is rushing to reach the top end of its full-year sales target of 3.6 million EV units, which would almost double last year’s total. It has sold nearly 1.3 million units this year, as of June. BYD spent RMB 20.2 billion ($2.83 billion) on R&D last year, up 90.3% from a year ago, and has developed key components in-house including EV batteries, electric powertrain systems, and vehicle control technologies

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: or Twitter: @yushan_shen